Lies We Tell Ourselves
This theme keeps coming up in my life. Or maybe it’s come up many times before and I wasn’t ready to hear it yet.
I heard it in leadership training last month. I read it in one of Anne Lamott’s books this spring. I heard it today after church from a friend describing a miracle to me. Yes, you read that right. A miracle.
A woman from my church was diagnosed with cancer and her doctors said it was 99% in her lymph nodes and said the words, “It would take a miracle for it not to be.” She was at church the week before, and after a moving service people were praying around her. She confessed that she felt like she deserved bad things because of her past…a huge LIE she was telling herself that was holding her back. The people there praying helped her understand that it’s not how it works. The woman was finally able to understand that her past sins were not working in a karmic way against her. The praying continued and my friend who was there said, “I saw her go limp and I knew she was healed, but I didn’t want to tell anyone because they would think I was crazy.” Yes. Yes they would.
Sure enough, the woman called my friend and said her results came back, her margins were clear and there was no cancer in her lymph nodes. A doctor defined miracle.
My friend was so happy (and not surprised) about the outcome, but she was just as thrilled that the woman was able to tear down some walls that she had built around herself—the lies—move forward, and grow.
I nodded, smiled and muttered one and two word sentences, because tears were attempting to pop out of my eyeballs and speaking would be the gateway to sobbing. So I swallowed the lump and pretended not to be on the verge of a break down.
I felt emotional for a number of reasons. The woman’s amazing diagnosis. Hearing about a miracle—because I so long to stand inside the inner circle on this whole faith thing, but I continually find myself on the outside looking in. Because I have an ever-unfurling scroll of lies accumulating that I continue to tell myself even as I’m attempting to cross them off the list, and because I long for my own walls to crack and crumble so that I can be who I was meant to be.
Which brings us back to lies. I think there’s something to this theme that is worth examining. We all have them, some screaming in their obviousness, and some we don’t even realize are lies because we’ve been mentally affirming them for so long.
Clearly it’s a process to stop the lying. Step one is to figure out what the lies are and then why the lies are. The first few will be easy to pinpoint and others may be less concrete, but still stubborn in the way they quietly undermine.
Step two is to replace the lie with a truth. Make a list with a lie column and a truth column. Go ahead, I’ll wait...
Okay. Now rip the list in half, separating the lies from the truth and throw those lies in the trash, burn them ceremoniously or write them on a rock and hurl them somewhere into the stratosphere. Gone, baby, gone. Tape that list of truths about yourself on your bathroom mirror and read them out loud to yourself every day until it stops feeling weird. Then you can start doing it every other day. I mean it.
I read a quote recently that said, “When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say.” That stupid message has been on repeat for way too long. Let’s record a new message on the voicemail of our souls. One that allows light to seep through the cracks in the walls we have built up, and then let’s take those suckers down.
The truth is, you are. You can. You will.